A closer look at the 4 sports programs Eastern Michigan is dropping

Lester Mason
March 21, 2018

Eastern Michigan University, facing steep budget shortfalls, will drop four of its sports programs at the end of this school year, the Ypsilanti school announced today.

There are 79 students and coaches who don't know where they'll be next year as the men's swimming and diving, wrestling, women's tennis and softball teams have been cut.

WEMU's Jorge Avellan reports on the cutting of four EMU sports teams. "Twenty five years ago, I went through this. They cut my sport, I sat in their seats, so I know exactly how it feels".

The head coaches of the four programs being cut were told about the move in individual meetings Monday night with EMU athletic director Scott Wetherbee. Budget issues also caused his baseball team in college to be cut.

The school says the cuts will involve 58 male student-athletes and 25 female student-athletes. They aren't a black hole, they are helping us.

"As a former student-athlete and swimmer myself, I profoundly share the pain felt by the affected student-athletes", he said. Eastern Michigan would have had to leave the Mid-American Conference, which officials wanted to avoid. The group has criticized Eastern for cutting jobs on campus while continuing to fund the football program.

Judy Kullberg is the president of the chapter.

The move was dictated by the overall finances of the university, which have been slumping. "Either the GLIAC (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) or the Horizon League and that kind of move would result in long-term reduction of spending on athletics", said Kullberg.

"We are very saddened by having to make this move, which is necessary as we continue to align the university budget with enrollment and state funding trends", Smith said in a press release.

The school says they chose the sports through a variety of factors, including program costs and athletic facilities.

Wetherbee added that 83 student athletes will be affected by the change. Make your donation to WEMU today to keep your community NPR station thriving. "They are to be commended for taking on a hard challenge and acting in the best interest of Eastern Michigan University".

A total of 42 open positions were eliminated and 17 employees were laid off at the school this year, according to a letter sent by the university to faculty and staff earlier this month.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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